Thursday, September 30, 2010

This is what happens when I haven't had an adult to talk to in a while

Due the fact that I feel about 17 months pregnant, I have a chronic inablility to focus on something for more than about 3.2 seconds.  So a post with coherent thoughts, or maybe even a point?  Not happening tonight.  So here you have it: a collection of the minutiae that is my life right now.  (And as a side note, don't you love that word?  It makes me feel intelligent just to use it.  Despite the fact  that I just had to switch over the Word to use the spell checker so I could actually spell it right...)

My laptop is dying a slow, painful death.  It's very sad, really.  It gives me anywhere from 10 seconds to about 10 minutes of use before it goes black with absolutely no warning or provocation. There's no computer repair money in the budget right now, ("Yes, ma'am, I'll look at your computer, but it costs at least $127 to glance in its direction, and we charge by the blink.) and I'm pretty sure I'll go into a deep state of mourning when it does actually kick the bucket.  Stupid technology.

My second grader's spelling words are harder than the third grader's.  Strange.

Does anyone else hate school fundraisers as much as I do?  The kids come home from school completely hyped up about prizes, prizes, prizes  they can win from selling crappy wrapping paper/overpriced chocolates/collecting walk-a-thon pledges from everyone they know, and immediately start begging to sell/collect/whatever.  What they don't get, (and the lovely fundraising people neglect to tell them) is that everyone else they know is also selling crappy wrapping paper/overpriced chocolates/collecting walk-a-thon pledges, making the whole thing an excercise in fultilty.  You then proceed to try to explain this to your child, whereupon they collapse in a puddle of tears, proclaiming that they're going to DIE if they don't earn enough money to get the free donut coupon and the package of Silly Bands.  Am I a bad mom if I ignore the fundraiser and buy the kiddos a donut and a packet of silly bands?

And while we're on the subject of silly bands, seriously?  File that under the "Ideas I should have had so I could make a million dollars and retire" category.  Sheesh.  I have at least one in depth conversation about silly bands with a child or violin student at least once a day.   On the bright side, the morning routine is running a lot more smoothly with the added bribe incentive of silly bands for good attitudes during practice time.

I went to Babies R Us yesterday, and spent entirely too much time ooh-ing and ahh-ing over every baby supply imaginable.  You would think that this being my fourth baby that I would be immune to all the tiny cuteness and matching absolutely everything.  (Don't you know you're a bad mom if your baby's bib doesn't match her crib bedding?  Don't you need to spend an entire's months' salary so that your newborn can have a crib that she can take to college with her?)  I think there's something in the pregnancy hormones that make you completely hypnotized by impossibly tiny socks in all the colors of the rainbow.  I escaped with my checking account relatively unscathed, although I do admit to buying two little tiny newborn outfits- one with baseballs, and one with seriously cute pink flowers- that will fit the new baby whoever he or she is for approximately 2.3 minutes before they grow out of it.  But every baby needs something new to come home from the hospital in, right? 

Speaking of babies, I have given this baby official notice that he or she has exactly 38 weeks to gestate and that's all.  None of this 40 or 42 weeks crap.  My pregnancies have gotten progressively shorter, so I've decided 38 weeks is about right.  The funny part is 38 weeks puts me right about Thanksgiving Day.  Not a bad day to have a baby, right?  So 38 weeks it is.  Think it'll work?  (It'll take a miracle.)  (Bonus points and my everlasting admiration if you get the movie reference.)

Speaking of babies, again, (you would think I was an obsessed pregnant woman or something!) I have an ultrasound next week to check baby's skull sutures and monitor the marginal previa.  I'm still dying to know boy or girl.  I wondering if it would be so bad to ask them to take a quick peek?  I could just keep it a secret from my husband and everyone I know for the next two months, right?

Max is officially obsessed with the iPhone.  Frustratingly so.  In fact, in his nearly two-year-old brain, I am not even allowed to talk on it, because it is his phone.  So if you are brave enough to call me, be prepared for a lot of toddler screaming very loud protesting going on in the background.  I'm trying to decide if I'm going to try to break the addiction or just give in. 

And just because I can, a gratuitously cute picture of the little iPhone addict.
Because it's important to always be fashionable, even in the bathtub.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Change of Plans

Don't you hate eating your words?

Yeah, me too.  Which is why this has been such a difficult post for me to write.  That, and the fact that I had pneumonia last week and still need daily doses of an inhaler just to breathe.  And also the fact that I've spent cumulative hours on the phone with less than wonderful customer service agents the past few days trying to get my internet access restored.  Just for the record, my husband is now in charge of all things internet related. 

Ok, back on point.

Let me clarify a few things first. 

I am a homebirtherI believe in homebirth.  I believe its a safe, wise, and gentle way for a baby to be born.  I believe that homebirth is as safe as a birth in the hospital when the mom and baby are low risk.

I had a marvelous experience birthing Max at home.  I've attended lots of successful, beautiful homebirths as a doula.  So when I fould out that we were expecting again, I naturally started planning for another homebirth.

Problem is, I've never felt completely settled or comfortable with the idea.  Since my wonderful midwife with Max, who also happens to be one of my best-est friends, moved to New Mexico a year and a half ago, I had to start from scratch interviewing midwives.  Nothing seemed to click.  I kept telling myself that I was only dragging my feet because I had such a great friendship with my last midwife and was having a hard time adapting to the idea of having "just" a midwife. 

I hired a midwife who I knew, respected, and had attended births with.  I had seen her in action and respected her experience and liked her style as a midwife.  I still felt unsettled.  I joked with my husband that maybe the reason I was feeling so lost and uninspired was either because I was going to have a baby so fast that it didn't matter who I hired, or I was just going to end up in the hospital anyway.   I stuffed my uneasiness and apprehension in the back of my mind, convinced that the reasons I was unsure had more to do with all our medical drama over the past year and a half than it did any inspiration or instinct about the matter.

This pregnancy, much like my others, has been relatively problem free.  I had two visits with the midwife and an ultrasound, all showing that things were progressing more or less as they should. 

But underneath it all, I couldn't deny that I was feeling uncommitted.  I was dragging my feet when it came time to make another midwife appointment.  I was having trouble envisioning, planning or getting excited about a homebirth.  Previous pregnancies have found me reading every birth story I could get my hands on, devouring birth books by the dozens, (I remember my husband asking me once, "How many birth books can you possibly buy before they all start saying the same thing?") and daydreaming about my perfect birth.  Imagining a homebirth this time around has felt as productive as visualizing a brick wall.

It all came to a head about a week and a half ago.  Out of the blue one Tuesday evening, my husband remarked, "You know, I really have a strong feeling that we're going to end up in the hospital with this baby."

"I do too."  I said, without even realizing that I was going to say it.  And just like that, everything I'd been trying to deny for the past six months came rushing to the surface.  There was a reason behind all the apprehension, the unease.  It was because, deep down underneath, despite all the denying my uneasiness and pretending everything was fine, I really wasn't at all certain about our plans for a homebirth.

We talked more that night after the kiddos had gone to bed.  We talked pros and cons, and put everything out on the table.  After our experiences with Max's birth, my husband is as pro-homebirthing as I am, and was equally wondering why he felt this way.  But I couldn't help but think that if my husband felt the same unease that I did, that it was time for me to sit up and take notice.

The next two days were filled with a lot of praying and a lot of crying.  I didn't want to give up on a homebirth.  I hate hospitals.  I know it sounds crazy to 98% of women out there, but I really do feel like my births belong at home.  I don't know that I have ever felt so conflicted about something in my entire life.

I was supposed to have an appointment with my midwife that week, and called the day before and cancelled it, telling her where we were emotionally.  She was wonderfully encouraging and supportive, asking me to keep her in the loop with whatever we decided.  She said that she had sensed hesitation from me at the very start, and kept waiting for me to come down off the fence on one side or the other.  She encouraged me to follow my gut, and let my instincts and feelings guide my decision, because in her experience, it's women who don't listen to that inner voice that find themselves in trouble.

Meanwhile, I made an appoitnment with a midwife who delivers at a new hospital nearby.  I've done a birth with her as well, (although I have to use that term loosely because we both showed up at the same time- about five minutes after the baby was born!) and she has a wonderful reputation for being as non-interventive as possible, and helping her clients get the birth they want.  The hospital is very new, and from everything I've heard, very progressive when it comes to labor and delivery.  Both Tom and I thought that we should probably start checking out all our options. 

I kept hoping and praying for revelation.  Waiting and wanting the skies to open up, a voice to speak.  So conflicted.  Caught between things I truly believe and the nagging feelings that my husband and I had been feeling the entire pregnancy.

I went to see the midwife this week, and immediately felt at ease.  She was very upfront and matter of fact, easy to talk to, and laugh and joke with about the birth community.  I gave her a brief rundown of how we were feeling, and she also encouraged me to follow my instincts, letting me know that she would do everything she could to help me acheive a peaceful, nonmedicated birth in the hospital.  From what she told me, there are no interventions I would be subjected to routinely, and that rather than forcing her patients into procedures, she would explain the risks and benefits and then let me decide.

I left the appointment feeling like a giant weight had been lifted off me.  I met Tom for lunch, and once again had the odd experience of hearing words come out of my mouth before I knew I had made a decision: "I think this is what we need to do."

So I find myself in a very weird spot.  I'm a homebirther through and through, but we feel strongly that for reasons we don't know, that we need to plan a birth in the hospital.

I don't know what that means, or why we would feel that way.  I had one friend suggest that I may not be completely over all the medical chaos that we went through with Max, and that because of that, I'm having a hard time believing that anything could go smoothly. 

I've wondered if my ambivalence about having another baby may be keeping me from making the committment to a homebirth.

But the last thing we want is to spend all the time and energy investing ourselves in a homebirth and then be forced to transfer late in pregnancy or worse, during labor.  If something is going to go wrong, (heaven forbid!) I would much rather be prepared emotionally to be comfortable in the hospital.  And the biggest nightmare driving both of us would be to look back and realize that we had been receiving inspiration the entire pregnacy, only to ignore it. 

There's also the not-so-small fact that birthing in the hospital would be significantly cheaper for us, to the tune of at least $1000, and probably more.  

I've felt like a traitor to my natural birthing mamas and friends.  I've felt like an imposter.  I've questioned my ability to receive and interpret revelation.  I've wondered if I'm just a big fat wimp.  I don't think I've ever felt so conflicted about a decision in my entire life.

But now that the decision has been made, I feel lighter.  Calmer.  Settled. 

I know that the majority of the people who read this will wonder what the big deal is, and why I'm acting like the decision of where to birth my baby is such a big deal. I know that people can and do have wonderful experiences in the hospital.  I know that there are many (most) women who can't imagine birthing anywhere else. 

I'm holding on to the hope that I wouldn't feel this strongly about something without a reason.

I'm almost 30 weeks, so it won't actually be that long until we know how this story ends. We joke that this baby is just destined to be surprise from beginnning to end. We were surprised to be pregnant, surprised to change our birth plans, and the biggest surprise of all will be finding out if we're having a baby brother or sister.

So we're hanging on for dear life for the rest of this crazy ride.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


pneu·mo·nia   /nʊˈmoʊnyə, -ˈmoʊniə, nyʊ-/

[noo-mohn-yuh, -moh-nee-uh, nyoo-]

–noun Pathology .

1. inflammation of the lungs with congestion.
2. an illness characterized by coughing until I see stars, spending a week throwing up despite the fact that I'm in my third trimester, and a trip to the instacare on an otherwise beautiful Sunday morning, resulting in one semi-panicked doctor, one breathing treatment, two inhalers and two different antibiotics. 
I have to tell you, though.  Breathing is a beautiful thing. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

The glamorous side of motherhood

So today, not only did I get to fish a piece of corn out of my toddler's nostril, but I also found a stash of about 8 pairs of really dirty underwear stuffed in a corner.  They were hidden there by a certain daughter, who shall remain nameless, who when questioned about it said "I just didn't want to get in trouble."


But I did learn a very important lesson.  I should never, ever venture into the girls' closets.  Dangerous territory.  That's what I get for trying to be ambitious and actually do the laundry.  Rest assured, it won't happen again. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

You might be pregnant if...

~The worth of an object becomes directly proportioned to your willingness to actually bend down and pick it up off the floor.

~You have a favorite color/flavor of Tums.

~Your nightly going to bed ritual includes clearing a path to the bathroom that you'll be visiting at least 47 times that night.

~You've been known to jump out of your seat or yelp occasionally because of a particularly hard kick to the ribs.

~Peeing in a cup at your Doctor or Midwife's appointment feels like an Olympic sporting event.

~You can stand in front of a very full pantry or refrigerator and then burst into tears because you can't find anything good to eat.

~After your husband makes fun of you for crying about it, you yell "Don't laugh at me!" sounding very much like a three year old.

~You then blame the whole episode on hormones.

~Your hips make more snapping and popping noises than a bowl of Rice Krispies.

~You threaten to shoot up a local fast food restaurant (that shall remain nameless) when they screw up your order and all you've been craving all day is a crisp bean burrito.  Why is that so hard people?  Come on!

~You can fall asleep standing up in the late afternoon, but wake up five hundred times later that night to pee.

~You make a nice, healthy meal that looks and smells great...until it's actually sitting on a plate in front of you.

~You could immediately tell a perfect stranger your EDD, LMP, and exactly how far along you are, (27 weeks and 2 days thankyouverymuch...) but you might very well forget your own childrens' names.

Anyone else?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

This is what happiness looks like

Doesn't it just make you smile?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

And the panic sets in

I was at the grocery store at an obscene hour last night, buying toilet paper, toothpaste, bananas and ice, (don't ask!) when the well-meaning but stupid cashier decided to take it upon herself to say "Wow- looks like you're about ready to have that baby."


I didn't hesitate to tell her I wasn't due until December, and would have enjoyed watching her hem and haw if I wasn't wondering if I had somehow blown up to the size of a blue whale when I wasn't looking.

It was just one more on a growing list of eveidences that I am, in fact, going to have a baby.

I know, right?  Shouldn't this have sunk in, oh, about the time I got a positive pregnancy test

You'd think so, wouldn't you? 

I think I've adjusted to the idea of being pregnant.  Now the idea of that pregnancy actually leading to a real baby?  Yeah, not so much.

Four.  Four kids.  It just seems like so many.  I'm going to be seriously outnumbered.

I have lots of friends with four kids.  Most of them have an oldest child the age of my middle daughter.  They do great with four.  They handle everything with grace and style.  I'm not sure how well it's actually going to work out for me.

I'm mildly hyperventilating at the thought of parenting four kids, including my toddler terrorist and a newborn.   I don't deal well with chaos, and I've been having viscious flashbacks from the six months of hell that was Abby as a toddler with Ashlynn as a newborn. 

Don't get me wrong.  I love this little person, and I'm looking forward to meeting him or her and adding them to our family.  I have little doubt that a year or two from now, I'll wonder what I was so worried about.  But nights like tonight, when Tom is in class late, the girls are alternating between bickering and singing stupid Cub Scout songs at the top of their lungs, and the toddler launches his uneaten bowl of chicken noodle soup across the kitchen that I wonder how I'll handle fitting the inevitable screaming newborn with the diaper blowout to the mix. 

Once again, I'm finding myself glad that it takes nine months to cook a baby.  Because while I may look like I'm ready to have a baby, it might take a few more weeks for me to actually be ready to parent four kids. 

Moms of four or more, tell me it's easy.  Tell me that the transistion didn't rock your world to the core.  Lie if you have to. 

PS- This new school/teaching/practicing/being pregnant schedule is kicking my butt.  Hoping to get back into a good posting groove soon.
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